Legislation benefits Long Bar Pointe project

April 1, 2014 

I hope voters will notice the clever deception Sen. Bill Galvano just pulled off in his Senate Bill 372 to end the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) law that gives adjacent counties a say on huge developments here.

Galvano had a Republican colleague offer an amendment that affects Long Bar Pointe. He wanted to avoid getting foes of Long Bar Pointe expansion enraged, at least right now.

Under the amendment, if a developer whose plan did not initially require a DRI wants to expand his project later, it would remain exempt from a DRI. I say it was quietly aimed at future plans for Long Bar Pointe.

If Long Bar Pointe wants to expand to the 2,000-plus homes originally sought, Galvano's bill would let them stay exempt from a law that makes such "aggregate" developments subject to DRIs.

The developer could add 6,000 homes without DRIs. The amendment would benefit the developers of Long Bar Pointe because taxpayers will bear the costs of roads, schools and other impacts since the county commission has voted to exempt developers from impact fees -- and 2,000 homes would generate 20,000 daily automobile trips, officials say.

The bill disadvantages adjacent counties that lack the "sophistication" of Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Huge impacts on Hardee or DeSoto counties could be addressed only by the "intergovernmental" element of the Comprehensive Plan, which "has no teeth."

And if Manatee County won't pay the other counties' costs for new schools and roads, they would sue our taxpayers to pay for those roads and schools.

Even with GOP committee chairman Sen. Joe Negron's "no" vote, the Galvano bill passed out of committee. It isn't law yet. Please urge the defeat of SB372 and show Sen. Galvano our taxpayers are as "sophisticated" as our planners.

Joe Shea


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